Managing Osteoarthritis


Posted on February 28, 2017


Aging is a natural process that happens to everyone, and getting older is more challenging when facing health problems, including the common effects of osteoarthritis.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

Degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) is mainly caused by the inflammation, breakdown, and overuse of the joints. This is a joint disease that primarily affects cartilage.

Osteoarthritis aggregates over the time. Some risk factors include:

  • Aging
  • Being overweight
  • Joint injury
  • A genetic defect in joint cartilage
  • Stresses on the joints from certain activities

It usually occurs in the hands, knees, hips, and spine. Osteoarthritis restricts movements. People who suffer from osteoarthritis find it difficult to move their affected body parts.

Warning signs of osteoarthritis are:

  • A crunching feeling or the sound of bone rubbing on bone
  • Stiffness in a joint after getting out of bed or sitting for a long time
  • Swelling in one or more joints

How Is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?

Most doctors use various methods to diagnose the disease and rule out other problems:

  • Physical examination
  • X-rays
  • Checking medical history
  • Blood tests
  • Examining fluid in the joints

How to Help Your Elderly Loved Ones Cope Up with Osteoarthritis?

  • Provide Nursing Assistance

There is not a blueprint for managing chronic pain. Pain management requires a nurse to carry out an individual assessment. Dependable Health Services can provides nurses that are experienced with osteoarthritis.

Improvements will happen over of time. The nurse can track the physical and psychological progress of the patients. This way, the patients can be will feel optimistic, even during days of suffering.

  • Motivate Patients to Exercise

The fear of pain from osteoarthritis often makes the patients decrease their activity levels. They believe this will protect their body. However, prolonged periods of inactivity increase stiffness, resulting in joint pain and muscle weakness.

Try to introduce a proper exercise regime. Make sure that it suits them so they will not feel worse. If the patient requires intervention from a physiotherapist for support and guidance, make an appointment as soon as possible. The right introduction to exercising with osteoarthritis can motivate patients to continue exercising in the long term.

  • Be Aware of Diet Management

Obesity can cause pain in weight-bearing joints, especially the knees and lower back. In addition to exercise, patients should maintain a healthy diet. If required, see a registered dietitian.

Studies show that a variety of nutrients may ease arthritis symptoms. Patients suffering from osteoarthritis should consume plenty fruits and vegetables. In addition, fish or fish oil supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids can be very helpful in relieving pain.

  • Medication Reminders

Elderly people often forget to take their medications. This aggravates the problem. Forgetting to take medications makes the pain unbearable. You must make sure that they are taking their medications as prescribed. You can be placed with a caregiver at Dependable Health Services who can help ensure that the medicines are taken on time. Medication supervision keeps the symptoms of osteoarthritis under control.

  • Use Heat and Cold Packs

Cold packs and heat packs are very helpful for relieving the joint pain from osteoarthritis. Apply those packs alternatively as prescribed by a healthcare professional. Keep cold packs in the freezer and a supply of heat packs on hand. These types of treatments can reduce joint pain, and can reduce the need for pain medications.

  • Arrange Regular Check Ups

It’s very important to get a diagnosis from your doctor if you think you have osteoarthritis. Patients may have to meet with their doctors several times to find the treatment plan. Doctors often recommend several therapies and supplements. Ask your doctor whether your loved one could benefit from alternative healthcare, like yoga, acupuncture or massage. If so, seek out skilled practitioners who have experience with osteoarthritis patients.

  • Assistive Devices & Products

Several devices and products are available for people with osteoarthritis. These may help manage the condition. Using TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) devices or special shoe insoles can help the patients manage their pain.

  • Easy Accessibility

Lastly, make sure that things are easily accessible. Pain and inflammation can make certain movements very difficult. Keeping scissors on hand for opening packages, electric can openers, and tools for opening jars can help the patient become more independent.

You may not be able to be with your loved one all the time. Consider investing in a home care specialist who can help in monitoring your elderly loved ones. Our experts at Dependable Health Services offer a full range of personal health care services to meet your individual needs.